Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Packet with One High School Model Information


The information regarding the one high school proposal begins on page 33. The 4K proposal begins on page 50.


A few items on the agenda from last night's meeting (Monday May 24, 2010):
1. Four-Year Old Kindergarten
Administration would like to move forward to design and develop this new program. If adopted it will mean additional classroom space of 12-13 classes and more staff. It will not be fully funded the first two years, but a very small amount grant money may be available for some start-up costs.
It is not difficult to find studies showing that any benefit a child receives from 4K is lost by 3rd grade. Studies also show that a child who has been in 4K tends to exhibit more physical aggression through 6th grade.


article on all day kindergarten:


The was not discussed at the meeting due to lack of time, but it will be discussed in June. Stay tuned.......

2. Technology and Engineering Courses
Administration would like to, “ Restructure and expand the work-based learning experiences in technology and engineering education into a Technology and Engineering Internship.” The Civil Engineering and Architecture classes will be new this fall. Once implemented, these courses would give students 9-12 college credits.
Some teacher training will take place during the school year and substitute teachers will need to be used in classrooms on those training days.
Two comments that are memorable were: Ted Neitzke, “If we can afford it.” (referring to some of the changes), and Pat Herdrich, “We are the most aggressive district around. We offer more classes than any other high school.”


1. One High School Model
The administration states, “As a result of the funding dilemma, the leadership team has suggested to the Board of Education that the high schools be combined. The 'one school' model would allow the system to capture sustainable savings because of the reduction in athletic teams.” A business plan was developed by administration. I will post it shortly.
This will be the topic of the June 21st board meeting.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Business Forum June 15th

Several local businesses and local government agencies will gather together for a Business Forum at West Bend Mutual on June 15th. Among those there to discuss planning for the future of West Bend will be the mayor and the school district. Local businesses will be expressing their ideas about their expectations of public school offerings. For their part, the West Bend Public School District will be bringing their "Simon Family Presentation".
Found on their website: http://wbsd.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/496946/File/The%20Budget%20and%20Future%20of%20WBSD%20%5BCompatibility%20Mode%5D.pdf?sessionid=ea11d9a25eac85842291e4b115cb3f3d
This is the presentation Ted Neitzke showed at the School Board meeting on March 22nd. The PowerPoint highlighted a scenario of a "typical district family" going through the district and the educational programming changing over time. Basically, it shows different school programming scenarios according to the amount we will be taxed next year--recommended cuts or added programs according to the amount of increase in the tax levy or the remote possibility of the levy not increasing. The scenarios presented are according to the Administrator's budget recommendations and wishes.
Since the "Simon family" has been introduced to us, there have been some new developments in their family. Mr. Simon lost his job. Combined reporting has caused his business to move out of state. He will be busy trying to find new employment (He's hoping for a government job and heard that the school district is the largest employer in the county), while Mrs. Simon will be taking a retail job for minimum wage. Her financial contribution will help keep up with their mortgage and property taxes. She is busy working evenings and weekends now and is not at home when Alex, age 10, comes home from school. She is also unavailable to help with his scout troop and homework. Mr. Simon hopes to step in where mom is no longer able to. They are concerned about more tax increases and its effect on their already strained budget. Jon is planning on finding yard work this summer to help pay for his car insurance (he just got his driver's license), while Megan was offered a weekly Booster route to help with personal expenses. The experience is causing her to mature in a wonderful way. They are learning all about family living while living real life together. They collectively hope that both local and state government will stop the tax burdens and unfriendly business climate so that they can once again function as a healthy, vibrant family.
Stay tuned................

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What is the Role of Public Schools?

McLane Elementary Principal Andy Kasik gave a presentation at last night's meeting. It was sort of a “state of the state” for McLane.
Mr. Kasik really seems to be a sharp guy. Over and over I heard him state or imply that McLane has high expectations for their students, and it shows. Their WKCE scores are the highest in the district. If a 1% decrease in test scores shows one year, they focus on that subject the next, whether it be math or reading. He said strong classroom instruction is what works. Period. McLane also uses technology to help struggling students and challenge more advanced learners to excel.
When kids need it, they are offered “second and third doses” of math or reading, which is done using manipulatives and technology. He understands that the means of education is changing and likened it to current technology advancing beyond the use of steam engines.
I was happy to hear him mention their use of technology in the classroom. It will be the future, especially in tough economic times when staff needs to be cut or reorganized to decrease tax burdens of citizens.
Mr. Kasik told of community projects the kids worked in, and he mentioned how they are working to increase communication with parents. I have no doubt that if his school budget was cut in order to budget without a tax levy increase, he and his staff could do it.
I'll end with this. He began his presentation with the comment that “30% of McLane students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. He went on to say that the staff at McLane needs to be certain that “all the needs of students are met; that the social and emotional needs are met by the school staff. Later he asked the question, “How do we meet families' needs?”
I wonder if that is a good question. I sometimes ponder that. Yes, some kids come to school with unmet needs. That is sad for the kids and for the parents. I understand that teachers love their students and want to “be sure their needs are met”. Some may think me hardhearted for saying this, but I'll say it anyway. The calling of a school district is not to “meet all the needs of students and families”. Schools are there to provide curriculum and instruction to students and share that responsibility with the parents and guardians. (WI statute 118) When schools begin to parent, more and more parents allow them to be the parents ,and they themselves refuse to do what is expected from them. That is stated as a general rule, and if we look back just a few years we can see that trend. Government becomes the family and provider, and many allow them to do it.
Just as high expectations for students is a way to see them succeed, so it is with parents. Our schools should have high expectations for the parents. Once we get that on the right track, our school budget will get on track too. It takes a new way of thinking. Schools are there to educate, and parents are there to parent. Period.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Preliminary Budget Advances

By a board vote of 6-1, the West Bend School District Superintendent's Preliminary Budget for 2010-2011 passed. Dave Weigand was the lone No vote. The budget, which grew to $79,348,067 from last year's budget of $73,000,000.00, passed with budget "reductions" of 1,420,792.00 to make the current preliminary budget $77,927,275.00. This budget presupposes a maximum levy tax increase of over 8% (wasn't last year's levy increase 10.3%?)

Due to the late hour, I'll close with comments from board members and the Superintendent:

Joe Carlson:
This budget is a sheared sacrifice of a budget.
Randy Marquardt: The teacher's contract took away any discussion from the board's hands. The $600,000.00 of cuts had to be put back into the budget. Because teachers salaries make up 85% of the budget it is the only place we can cut, and the union took that away.
Dave Weigand: Basically we are told if we don't spend money we won't have it later. This mentality is epidemic in school districts across the state.
Todd Miller: [Teacher] negotiations are tough. (From me: I don't doubt they are!)
Pat Herdrich: The leadership team will not make the recommendation to under-levy.
We are a low spending district (that was stated several times as well as comments about state funding favoring the most affluent communities)

Mrs. Herdrich also mentioned wanting to get waivers from the state to allow the district to opt out of unfunded mandates. That confused me because she is always saying she wants to increase programming.

I give accolades to Mclane principal Andy Kasik. He leads his staff in high expectations for the students there. More on that tomorrow.

Election of Officers

Board President: Joe Carlson by a 5-2 vote. Dave Weigand and Randy Marquardt voted against the appointment. The other appointments were unanimous.
Vice President: Tim Stepanski
Treasurer: Bruce Koenig
Clerk: Kris Beaver
Weigand motioned and Marquardt seconded motion of Tim Stepanski for President, but Stepanski refused to accept.

Proposed Housing Project

In Saturday's paper Judy Steffes wrote about a proposed new low-income housing project downtown West Bend. A survey has been set up by the district's alderman and Boots and Sabers posted on it. I'll add a link here to access all.
Besides the concerns expressed there, the future of this proposition will have an impact on our schools. It's time to be good citizens and look out for the best interest of our community.


Friday, May 7, 2010


The Preliminary Budget is on the agenda for Monday's meeting (May 10) at McLane Elementary School (833 Chestnut St). It will be a topic in two meetings:
Board Work Session in Room 101 from 5-6:15pm and
Regular Board meeting at 7Pm in the gymnasium.
Now is the time for folks to come to the meetings and express themselves. It was good to see so many local folks come to the annual meeting last fall and express their concerns over another tax increase.
The budget for this fall
will be discussed and you can have input now about what will be voted on this September 27th at the annual meeting.
The proposed budget will not be available to the public until Monday at the meeting.
I really do wonder about something. Why is there only 15 minutes on the agenda for the budget discussion, 3 minutes for public input and 35 minutes for student recognitions?
The budget discussion is scheduled for 9:10 pm.
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Budget Enhancement:
K-6 World Language $550,000.00

Increased focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
through the development of courses 6-12 $259,000.00

Restore Gifted and Talented Programing K-8
(my note: Unless I am mistaken, Gifted and Talented is required by law. HOW it is done is at the district's discretion. So I wonder at the word "restore".) $242,640.00

Increase Librarians at the Elementary Level $285,000.00

ACT Curricular Alignment and Testing $83,000.00

Intervention Strategies for Elementary and Middle School math (double session of learning) $708,000.00

(my question: Does this mean hiring more teachers?)

Instructional software for research based interventions (20% intervention need)

This would mean:
Tax at allowable rate
Projected to be an 8.3% increase
(assuming the state funding is the same)
Alternative revenue sources which could include an operating referendum
Reverse the trend of reductions and begin to look to sustain and enhance


Of course they accepted.

The agreement's provisions are in the previous post.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


1.Two year contract covering the period of July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2011
2.Any and all savings achieved as a result of this contract settlement shall be used to offset programmatic reductions in 2010-11. Any and all savings achieved as a result of this contract settlement shall not be used to under-levy 2010-11.
3.Provide salary schedule step and lane increments in each year, and increase salary schedule by 0%/cell effective July 1, 2009 and 3%/cell effective July1, 2010.
4.Effective July 1, 2010, delete one (1) full step from 2010-2011 salary schedule.
(My note: this brings a B.A. Teacher's starting salary from $36,338 to $37,920)
5.Effective July 1, 2010, increase the NBPTS(National Board Professional Teaching Standards) stipend by one thousand dollars ($1,000) to twenty-five hundred dollars ($2,500).
6.Effective July 1, 2010 award six (6) credits for salary schedule movement to an employee who completes a guided PDP for relicensure under pilot MOU for 2010-11-Appendix M
7.Effective September 1, 2010, credits taken at University of Laverne or McPherson College will need to be preapproved under a pilot for 2010-11-Appendix M
8.Effective July 1, 2010, increase the employee contribution to the family health plan by ten dollars ($10) to establish the new rate at sixty dollars ($60) per month.
9.Expand language on interschool mail to include electronic mail boxes. Add language that acknowledges the District Technology Use Policy and expectations that staff abide by this policy.
10.Expand language related to EEO protected classes to include all classes protected by federal and state law.
11.Create two (2) one-half (½) teacher workdays out of student-contact days. These
days will be March 25, 2011 and June 9, 2011. These days are accomplished by
restructuring the minutes of the student day and do not extend the school year.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I just wonder why a public school would incorporate Yoga
into an activity held at school. Yoga is deeply rooted in
Hinduism-isn't that a religion? Who authorized this?
What does this have to do with public education?
What were the parents told about the Yoga (and drumming?)?
This was many of the girls' FIRST YOGA EXPERIENCE!
The schools have engaged in proselytizing, using our kids as
the prize.

APD - West Bend Daily News;
Date:May 1, 2010;Section:Front Page;Page Number:A1

‘Girls-4-Girls’ focuses on reducing bullying Silverbrook seventh-graders spend a night together By KRISTEN J. KUBISIAK Daily News Staff

School is the last place most middle school students would like to spend a Friday night — but for Silverbrook seventh grade girls it was a great location for a celebration.

About 60 seventh-grade girls gathered in the school cafeteria Friday night for the fourth “Girls-4-Girls” event.

The “lock-in” is the culmination of a five-week program focused on breaking down clique barriers and reducing the incidents of bullying among girls, said program organizer and school counselor Sue Milkus.

“Bullying for girls is different than with boys,” Milkus said. “Girls are in many ways more subtle and more mean. They are cunning in regard to how they can hurt another girl — by gossiping and spreading rumors. We all have that capacity — to deal with our own insecurities by throwing them outside of ourselves.”

Each hourlong session during the program’s fiveweek period gave girls a chance to get to know one another and discuss the issues in their lives. Topics included self image, the difference between being popular and being likable, and character development as well as ways to turn intense
negative emotions — such as jealousy, anger, fear and insecurity — into something positive, Milkus said.

One of the positive activities Milkus introduced to program participants was volunteering.

Girls were required to complete two hours of community service at school, Milkus said, “so they know how good it feels to make a difference or help someone else.”

The big reward for their participation in the “Girls-4-Girls” program was the lockin.

Program participants were treated to a variety of activities during the fourhour event, including drumming, yoga, massage and manicures, T-shirt decorating and bracelet making. Girls were divided into groups of four to six, with one adult volunteer assigned to each group.

They rotated through the different activities, which took place in classrooms and were offered in 20-minute sessions.

Kathy Nieman of Yoga One Studio, Cedarburg, led girls through — what was for many — their first yoga experience.

“The purpose of teen yoga is to help the girls feel more empowered,” Nieman said. “Yoga brings a calmness to your body and your mind.”

One of the girls at the event looking forward to participating in yoga was Kaitlin Weidner.

Weidner said the “Girls-4-Girls” program enabled her to get to know her classmates better.

“There were girls I didn’t know who I found out we had things in common,” she said. “We are friends now.”

West Bend East sophomore Kate Vetter, who participated in the program when she was in seventh grade, was one of several Silverbrook alumni volunteers at the school Friday providing manicures.

“I remember my ‘Girls-4-Girls’ lock-in,” she said. “It was the first year the school offered it and it was a lot of fun.”

In year four of her program, Milkus said she hopes it is something that other schools might embrace.

“We don’t have a lot of bullying here,” she said. “I’d like to think that the program has had a positive affect on the school climate.”

Andrew Link/Daily News Staff Seventh-graders Allie Schoen, Danielle Bond and Cassie Albritton make their own beat during a drumming session at the Girls-4-Girls event Friday at Silverbrook Middle School.